The Fan Hitch Volume 6, Number 1, December 2003

Journal of the Inuit Sled Dog

Table of Contents

Editorial: What's in a Name?
Fan Mail
Breaking Away: The Liberation of Ove Nygaard
What is the ISDI and the ISD?
A Holiday Miracle
Of Sheep and Sled Dogs
News Briefs
Qamutiit and How They're Loaded
The Truth Behind the Madrid Protocol
Media Review: Globe Trekker - Iceland and Greenland
Product Review: Ryobi TrimmerPlus®
Tip for the Trail: Bitches in Season
IMHO: Super Cars and Inuit Dogs

Navigating This Site

Index of articles by subject

Index of back issues by volume number

Search The Fan Hitch

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Ordering Ken MacRury's Thesis

Our comprehensive list of resources

Talk to The Fan Hitch

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ISDI home page

Editor's/Publisher's Statement
              Editor: Sue Hamilton
              Webmaster: Mark Hamilton
The Fan Hitch Website and Publications of the Inuit Sled Dog– the quarterly Journal (retired in 2018) and PostScript – are dedicated to the aboriginal landrace traditional Inuit Sled Dog as well as related Inuit culture and traditions. 

PostScript is published intermittently as material becomes available. Online access is free at:  PostScript welcomes your letters, stories, comments and The editorial staff reserves the right to edit submissions used for publication.

Contents of The Fan Hitch Website and its publications  are protected by international copyright laws. No photo, drawing or text may be reproduced in any form without written consent. Webmasters please note: written consent is necessary before linking this site to yours! Please forward requests to Sue Hamilton, 55 Town Line Rd., Harwinton, Connecticut  06791, USA or
From the Editor.....
What's in a name? 
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

- William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet. Act II. Sc. II

Before the start of every publishing year, it is our custom to reflect on The Fan Hitch and decide whether or not to make changes. Are they needed? Are they desirable? We've reviewed several of periodicals, both online and printed to see what others are doing with both style and content. Some of them are incredibly slick, with lots of "eye candy" bells and whistles. Of course, it is often difficult to "compare apples to oranges". What works for one doggie publication, does not necessarily work for another.

When we began in late 1997, even before we actually came up with the name The Fan Hitch, we pretty much expected that our publication would have content which classified it as a newsletter. Magazine sounded too formal, something we decided we were not nor could ever be. Besides, whenever we entered material to the Dog Writers' Association of America's writing contest, it was likely we would have a better chance competing in their newsletter categories and not the magazine ones where the really big, fancy, and well-monied entries competed. And that sure worked out well for us. See: News Briefs.

In publication for five years, The Fan Hitch has generated more interest by and correspondence with a more diverse audience than we would have ever predicted. Some of the contacts have come from National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre in Yellowknife, NWT, Canada; from universities, grade schools, and from undergraduate and graduate college students seeking help with their projects and term papers; from documentary film makers, arctic Canadian NGOs, editors and publishers of other dog websites, magazines and newsletters; from anthropologists and ethnographers, Alaskan malamute owners (some of them angry with me), Canadian Eskimo [sic] Dog owners looking for advice and camaraderie, Northern Inuit (those wolf X dog hybrids) breeders (VERY angry with me), Northern Inuit owners seeking guidance, a barrister defending a Northern Inuit Dog owner, and a veterinarian in Scotland wondering how to rabies vaccinate a Northern Inuit. 

We still do not accept advertising (and do not plan to), we do not include chatty fluff, and we sure do not list show wins - all the sorts of things that, to our way of thinking, characterize the typical parochial newsletter. Yes, we do report news, when there are such stories about Inuit Dogs needing to be brought to the attention of our readers. But even with their inclusion, The Fan Hitch seems to have evolved beyond what we expect most folks (including us) consider a newsletter.

And so with this, the beginning of our sixth year, we would like to re-introduce The Fan Hitch as the Journal of the Inuit Sled Dog International. We plan to continue on as we have before, with no intentions of becoming "high brow", as the name may imply to some. This small change does make sense. Just as the name The Fan Hitch takes on a double meaning (i. how dogs are hitched up to a qamutiq, ii. a group of enthusiasts who are joined together with a common interest), the term "journal" not only describes the kind of publication we believe we are, it also means, according to one dictionary, "…a record of occurrences, experiences and reflections kept on a regular basis; a periodical presenting news in a particular area…"

We hope you approve and, more than this, we hope that some our readers who can contribute to our journal with adventure, health, behavior, scientific, cultural, historical, socio-political articles about Inuit Sled Dogs will do so and enrich us all.

One final thought before you journey on to the rest of The Fan Hitch. Early this month, during the first snowfall of the season, Mark and I went out to shoot some digital photographs to capture suitable images for holiday greeting cards. For one scene, we paired a carving of a male northern cardinal with our inukshuk because we love the contrast of the vivid red bird against the natural tones of rocks and trees, and especially against the snow. We built our inukshuk last year using stones gathered from the exercise pen, a couple of pieces of arctic soapstone and one big rock we even paid for since we did not have anything to use for the long arms. Our "stone man" stands next to the driveway and points the way to the back yard, an inanimate but compelling symbol of our love for the north. Seeing the image of the cardinal huddled against the inukshuk's "body", protected from the snowstorm, begged the question, What's wrong with this picture? Here was a bird whose range barely reached to the southernmost parts of Ontario teamed up with an enduring icon of the arctic. Then we realized that maybe this odd twosome was not such an obtuse couple after all, but rather a symbol, if somewhat whimsical, of cross-culturalism…and the sort of message we would like to share and encourage, especially at this time of year. So to Inuit Dog enthusiasts north and south and east and west, we bid you all the best this holiday season and for the coming year.  And as always…

Wishing you smooth ice and narrow leads,

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